The best compliment I’ve been given about Left to Chance is that readers want to go there. Yes, to Chance, Ohio. To a fictional town in the corner of a state I lived in once for ten months (and in real live Cleveland, not charming Chance).
Readers want to go to Perk for coffee, and most of them want to meet Beck. He’s my favorite too although my agent and I agree to disagree on whether he looks like Luke Wilson or Blake Shelton.
I don’t mind discuss the virtues of Beck’s appearance, but between you and me, it’s also the worst question someone can ask.
If you’re familiar with my m.o., I don’t see the faces of my characters when I write. Therefore, when people want to know who I *see* in the roles of the characters should it ever become a movie, I head straight to Google. Because NO CLUE.
And that’s not because I don’t watch movies or TV. I watch way too much of all of it. But it’s things like mannerisms and inflections and style that captivate me. Not faces.
To be honest, there’s usually ONE that pushes its way through with each book, so I start there. In The Glass Wives, Laney was always Andie Macdowell, yet to this day I’ve never seen the face of the main character, Evie Glass.
In The Good Neighbor, Mrs. Feldman was always a combination of Betty White, Bea Arthur, and some of my elementary school teachers who I used to think were old but were likely in their early sixties when they taught me in the early seventies.
In Left to Chance I always saw Beck as Blake Shelton, but maybe that was just a way for me to work Blake Shelton into my workday since I can’t write with music.
I’m grateful to the bloggers and readers who cast my novels for me. I don’t know if it’s easy for them or if they look at it as a challenge. Either way, it’s always fascinating to see faces attached to the characters I invented. Still, they never look “quite right” to me, though if someone wants to make a movie from one of my books, I promise I’ll come around quick! Strangely, aside from the financial aspect of a deal like that, it has never appealed to me much. I like the way each reader creates faces and places in her head, only helped along by what I’ve written. I learned when The Glass Wives was published that I cannot sit with every reader and tell her what I meant or was intended. Each reader brings her own history (baggage, if you will) into a reading experience and makes it her own.
So if you ask me Luke or Blake, the answer will always be: you decide. (And let me know!)